As with anything involving retail transactions, eCommerce is more often associated with B2C brands and businesses, but that’s not always the case. B2B companies are also heavily involved in the eCommerce industry.
In fact, eCommerce expectations are vastly different in the B2B sphere compared to B2C.
On the latest episode of The eCommerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives podcast, host Kailin Noivo is joined by Kelli Reeves, Senior eCommerce Program Manager at Floor & Decor, to discuss the difference between B2B and B2C eCommerce.
B2B Versus B2C: How Do Customer Expectations Differ?
In Kelli’s storied career in the eCommerce sphere, she has worked across both B2B and B2C organizations, observing differences in both customer experience and how they operate.
Working at SiteOne Landscape Supply, she was surprised by the dichotomy between the expectations of B2B and B2C consumers.
B2B customers have an expectation that their online store experience is simply an extension of their in-store sales relationship, which drastically raises the eCommerce bar. Whatever experience they have in store, they expect the same service online.
Further, B2B customers were far more likely to get in contact with the company if they experienced a site performance or data issue as they often focussed more greatly on back-office features due to their business needs being driven by their own customers.
Meeting B2B Customer Expectations
With such high expectations of eCommerce from B2B customers, it can feel like a never-ending uphill battle. Kelli explains that step one is getting better at extending the relationship from in-store to online.
Part of this comes from training store associates on the value of using data to deepen customer relationships. In the not-so-distant future, AI will be a tool to help associates predict customer needs, even before they walk into the door. However, Kelli shares that there is no reason we cannot use that data now to help fuse in-store and online channels together.
One way of doing this is by observing notes left by customers at checkout. These small comments are not always relevant to that individual transaction but they can be built out to offer new experiences to a company’s consumer base.
Discovering Links Between Errors
Kelli and her team have been utilizing the Noibu platform to help discover links between errors, seeing patterns that were otherwise invisible. The platform is helping to reduce a lot of the noise around individual errors, bringing direct relations to light, no matter if they are serving B2B or B2C customers.
For example, she has witnessed that, as they service more B2B customers, more integration issues come to light due to their data complexity:
Creating Frictionless eCommerce Experiences
Kelli’s biggest piece of advice to B2B eCommerce brands is to stop the narrative that customers will work harder to use your site, regardless of the errors they face:
Every time a customer is faced with an error, they will be faced with a choice between leaving the site and coming back later (or even going to a competitor) or waiting it out and repetitively refreshing the page. Either option delays your revenue, or even reduces it.
Further, every error is a memory you create with the customer, but it would be much more beneficial to create positive brand memories. For Kelli’s team, the mantra is to make it everyone’s responsibility to create a frictionless customer experience, whether they be a leader or an intern, or somewhere in between.
At the end of the day, no matter how good your promotions are at driving traffic to your site, you will lose customers through errors. Fixing them will make conversions clean and your customers will think far more highly of your brand.
Listen to the Full Episode Below!
Tune in to this episode of The eCommerce Toolbox: Expert Perspectives with Kelli Reeves to find out more about navigating B2B customer experiences.
👉 Apple: https://apple.co/3QZiEJ6
👉 Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3SFE8fc
Kelli Reeves is an accomplished digital and eCommerce leader with over two decades of experience in the sector. She is currently the Senior eCommerce Program Manager at Floor & Decor, a Georgia-based flooring retailer. Prior to this, she was the Senior Manager of eCommerce Applications at SiteOne Landscape Supply, where she built the .com on-site team from the ground up.